Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Much Ado About DaVinci

I came into work on Tuesday and found a news release from Britain. Not from someone in Britain...from Britain itself. It included a map and was essentially touting Britain as a tourist destination for folks who wanted to "see many of the locations mentioned in the film 'The DaVinci Code'."

I haven't read "The DaVinci Code" and probably won't see the movie. I have no great issue with folks who do though. Obviously a lot of other people's opinions differ from mine.

There are calls for boycotts, threats of lawsuits, and the obligatory survey claiming to prove that people who read the book changed their opinion of Christianity as a result.

First off, I long ago stopped believing "surveys" and "polls"...I think their intent is to create news not report it. Plus if the core elements of your faith could be radically altered by a novel or movie, I suspect it would require only a slight scratch to unmask the thin nature of your theology.

Secondly, I believe when Christians get all red in the face, screech, and wave their judgmental fingers while demanding boycotts and lawsuits all they truly accomplish is to give whatever has their pious panties in a twist a lot more publicity. It's counter productive at best and reinforces the all too common image of people of faith being people of intolerance.

It's especially amusing to me to hear Christian leaders holler about how Hollywood is suddenly defaming their faith. This is news? I'm reminded of the line from "Casablanca," "I'm shocked, shocked! There's gambling going on here!" With the exception of "The Passion of the Christ", I'm hard pressed to think of a time in the modern era when Hollywood was guilty of NOT taking cheap shots at Christians. Perhaps I missed the great cinematic conversion.

I tell you why I'm thankful for the DaVinci debacle - besides the fact the much hyped movie is getting lousy initial reviews. I'm proud of the churches who are using interest in the movie as an outreach tool. There are many, some even screening the film and then offering sermons, seminars and bible studies not necessarily to debunk the DaVinci Code, but rather to explain the basic tenets of our faith to the curious.

Finding opportunities to share our beliefs is often not easy...sometimes we have to look under rocks, in dark alleys, in unpleasant and unfamiliar territories to locate them.

And when we do?

In my mind that's when we've truly cracked the code.